The first Global meetings industry day is celebrated by the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding prepared by the new Strategic Alliance of the National Convention Bureaus of Europe. Slovenia and 23 other European countries proudly enter the new alliance.
Meetings industry is nowadays viewed as part of a comprehensive government strategy for economic transformation and growth in priority sectors. More and more destinations, especially developing economies, are investing resources in this growing sector dominated by Europe and North America because they recognize its potential to create positive economic impact and are aware of the impact major events have on the reputation of a destination.
Designed to showcase the real impact that business meetings, conferences, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions have on people, business and communities around the world, the first-ever Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) is taking place on 14 April 2016. Many celebrations and events are taking place around the globe including the announcement of the Strategic Alliance of the National Convention Bureaus of Europe.
Miha Kovačič, Director of the Slovenian Convention Bureau comments: “Global Meetings Industry Day is big achievement for the recognition of meetings industry on a national but also global level. Slovenia is proudly joining the initiative that will unite the meetings industry all over the world. This will help us to emphasize the value and importance of the meetings industry. Slovenian meetings industry is in the development phase and is one of the primary tourism products of Slovenia. It is recorded in the national strategic and annual documents. Slovenian Convention Bureau is in cooperation with Slovenian Tourist Board and industry suppliers constantly developing and promoting Slovenia as MICE destination. Slovenia is perceived as an emerging meetings and incentive travel destination. The stakeholders have to increase the awareness of Slovenia in this lucrative business sector. In addition to that, its size, geographic position, rich cultural heritage and diversified opportunities. Meetings and incentives are organised throughout the country from Kranjska gora at the Austrian border to Čatež at the Croatian border and from Prekmurje at the Hungarian border to Portoroz at the Italian Border.”
Although Slovenian is still a fairly undiscovered meetings destination, the country has a lot to offer to the alliance. Slovenian energy, team flexibility, 24h smile, personal touch and natural charm are just some of the characteristics the Slovenian meetings professionals will bring to the table. Slovenian Tourist Board, the national umbrella tourist board that carries out the promotion of the whole country, Slovenian Convention Bureau that unites over 60 diverse providers of meetings services located throughout the country and promotes Slovenia as congress destination to meeting planners all over the world and Kongres magazine, Slovenian based magazine that has become the leading meetings industry media in the New European region, did so far an extremely good job placing Slovenia on the meetings industry map.
Mag. Maja Pak, Director General of the Slovenian Tourist Board: “One of the vital objectives of the Slovenian Tourist Board is to increase our country’s visibility and place its tourist offer on the European and global tourist map accordingly. Convention tourism is one of the key products of Slovenian tourism. This year the convention industry obtained its World Day and Slovenia is proud to be included in the marking of this day, which is very important. The significant potential demonstrated by convention tourism in Slovenia and by long-standing positive trends globally supports its further growth and development. The Slovenian Tourist Board intends to continue paying special attention to convention and business tourism, especially when presenting the convention tourist offer in foreign markets, where we have already been continuing, upgrading and even intensifying a successful partnership with the Slovenian Convention Bureau this year. We are aware of the great importance of convention and business tourism for tourism as a whole, of strengthening the reputation of tourist trade at home and abroad, its ample multiplying effect, the importance of the contribution of convention and business guests to the inflow of foreign guests and their input to the sustainable development of Slovenian tourism.”
To boost partnership working between convention bureaus within Europe in order to maintain and strengthen its long-term standing as number one meeting destination in the world (ICCA Statistics Report 2014), Slovenian along with Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Latvia, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland entered the newly formed alliance. With a goal to promote and support knowledge sharing among members, simplify and strengthen the approach to key markets, and enable comprehensive market research via joint activities, the strategic alliance has agreed to meet twice a year, rotating host destinations, with the next meeting scheduled to take place 22 – 23 September 2016 in Riga, Latvia.
Matthias Schultze, Managing Director of the German Convention Bureau (GCB), and Eric Bakermans, marketing manager for the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions, speaking on behalf of the group, comments: “The Memorandum of Understanding is a significant step for our Alliance. As a growing organisation, it’s essential that we’re clear on our goals and how we can work together to achieve them. Adopting a partnership approach really strengthens our position in the global meeting and event sector, both as individual countries and as the wider Alliance.”
With the support of Conventa, trade show for meetings event and incentives organized every year in Ljubljana, the three partners are contributing to the development of the meetings industry of a larger congress region as well. Over the past eight years Conventa attracted 1.037 exhibitors from 17 countries and 1.974 meeting planners from 46 countries and is now considered a “must attend event” by all key meetings industry players in the region.
Gorazd Čad, Editor-in-Chief of Kongres magazine: “In these days Kongres magazine celebrates its jubilee. I am glad that the magazine helped co-create the story of the Slovenian meetings industry. Ten years of the media has also reflected in the development of the industry as the magazine closely followed key events and the growth of the Slovenian meetings industry, which has despite of a decade of development still a long road ahead to present Slovenia as developed meetings industry destination.”